Last night we arrived at yet another hotel, this time the Palace in Manchester where we will spend the weekend. We found our way to our room and just marvelled for a few minutes. The room was beautiful. With ceilings tall enough for a beanstalk and a huge bed with a mattress that you where the princess wouldn't have felt a peach let alone a pea. But the crowning glory is the bathroom. It makes accessible beautiful. Most hotel rooms fitted for the disabled look like they were transported from a hospital ward. Not this one. The bars are jet black the railings made of brushed steel. It's gob-smacking fabulous.
So we went to the bar downstairs for a drink. We found ourselves suddenly surrounded by hundreds of Christmas partiers. They were with some kind of firm that seems to only employ white middle class people. The women were dressed in Marks and Spencer frippery. The men in tuxes, ties ... the bravest wearing socks with a splash of colour. It was like the lobby of a cloning factory. Very little difference. And what was odd was that they didn't seem bored by their sameness, they seemed to revel in it. Joe and I sat at a table off to the side and there was almost a current of disapproval that ran through the group, me fat in a wheelchair, Joe with me fat in a wheelchair. Eyes were averted.
When Ruby Grace was born, I held her just a few days after she entered the world. She smelled of baby, of fresh life. Mostly she just slept. I think I have the kind of body that babies in particular like. Soft, warm, safe. She snuggled into me and just slept. After a sound sleep she stirred slightly and then, wonderously, she openned her eyes. They were like alien eyes ... they looked otherworldly, like she was seeing earth for the first time.
I pray that Ruby's eyes learn to love seeing difference. That she doesn't end up liking only one colour of rose, one flavour of tea, one scent of perfume. I hope that when she attends a party like the one last night that she fights a yawn and delights when it's over and she can return to a fantastical world of diversity, odd beauty and sharp spices.
There is so much for her to see, so much to taste, so much to experience. I hope that the boundaries of her life are not defined by a desire for sameness ... I hope that she seeks out polar opposites ... I hope she seeks for difference both in her heart and in the hearts of others. I hope she sees ... really sees the people around her ... that she sees, even once glimpses, the world that God made.